Drivers in California may have legal options if someone defaces, damages, or destroys their vehicle. These actions are prohibited under California Vehicle Code Section 10853: Malicious Mischief to a Vehicle.
VC 10853 covers a range of different criminal actions involving vehicles. The Simmrin Law Group can help you go over the specific legal definition of this section of the vehicle code. You can also review some of the penalties for malicious mischief to a vehicle conviction.
Malicious Mischief to a Vehicle: Legal Definition
A firm understanding of malicious mischief is necessary to fully grasp VC 10853 charges. Per the legal codes in California, an individual commits malicious mischief by damaging, destroying, or defacing another person’s property.
Individuals in the state of California can be charged under VC 10853 of they intend to commit malicious mischief and then:
- Climb Into a Car at Motion or at Rest OR
- Climb Upon a Car at Motion or at Rest
Malicious mischief to a vehicle charges can also apply if an individual enters a car and tries to adjust the vehicle’s:
- Starting Mechanism
- Other Devices or Mechanisms
Note that malicious mischief to vehicle charges should only apply if an individual does not have the vehicle owner’s consent. If a vehicle owner gives permission for the actions taken, then an individual is not committing malicious mischief in the state of California.
Malicious Mischief to a Vehicle: Examples
Focus on strengthening your understanding of VC 10853 charges by considering these examples:
Some teenagers are walking around the neighborhood when one of them notices that a car’s sunroof is open. One member of the group is dared to climb inside. One inside he cuts holes into the seats and tears up the roof. He could be charged with malicious mischief to a vehicle.
A man is on his way home from the bar when he finds what he thinks is his car. He opens the door but can’t find his keys. Eventually, he realizes he is in the wrong vehicle, climbs out, and leaves. He accidentally broke the rearview mirror while in the vehicle, but, because he did not intend to damage anything, he could avoid a VC 10853 conviction.
Malicious Mischief to a Vehicle: Penalties in California
Individuals in California can face misdemeanor charges for malicious mischief to vehicle accusations. A conviction under VC 10853 can lead to the following penalties:
- Fines: Up to $1,000
- Jail Time: Up to Six Months
Sometimes, judges will choose to sentence an individual to probation instead of jail time for malicious mischief to a vehicle conviction.
Malicious Mischief to a Vehicle: Similar Charges
There are many legal codes in California designed to punish individuals for vehicular crimes. For example, individuals may face charges for:
- California Penal Code Section 487(d)(1): Grand Theft Auto
- California Vehicle Code Section 10851: Unlawful Taking Or Driving Of A Vehicle
- California Vehicle Code Section 10852: Tampering With A Vehicle
Grand theft auto generally comes with the most severe consequences, but all of these charges can lead to fines and incarceration in the state of California.
Malicious Mischief to a Vehicle: Legal Defenses
Charges for malicious mischief to a vehicle can be difficult to handle alone. You can get professional help dealing with these accusations by contacting a Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer. A legal team can go over all the facts surrounding your case and your lawyer may be able to demonstrate:
You Accidentally Damaged, Defaced, or Destroyed a Vehicle
Individuals must act with a specific intention to face a VC 10853 conviction. If you accidentally damaged, destroyed, or defaced someone else’s vehicle you should not be convicted in court for malicious mischief to a vehicle in California.
You Had the Owner’s Permission
You must damage, destroy, or deface a vehicle without the permission of the owner to be convicted under VC 10853. If a vehicle owner gave you permission to damage, deface, or destroy an old vehicle they did not want anymore, for example, you could avoid a conviction.
Contact a Criminal Defense Lawyer for Help with VC 10853 Charges
Handling California Vehicle Code Section 10853: Malicious Mischief to a Vehicle charges alone can increase the odds that you will be convicted. Make sure you are ready to handle these accusations by contacting a criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles. You can speak with the Simmrin Law Group to get a FREE initial case evaluation now.
Start protecting your future today by filling out our online contact form or calling (310) 896-2723.